* Oil prices fall over 3 pct, energy sector top index loser
* Healthcare deals, tech surge push Nasdaq to record high
* Celgene slips as 2016 sales forecast disappoints
* Dow down 0.24 pct, S&P down 0.15 pct, Nasdaq up 0.33 pct
(Updates to early afternoon)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Jan 9 Declines in financial and energy companies
weighed on Wall Street on Monday, stalling the Dow's pursuit of
20,000, while the Nasdaq hit a record intraday high on gains in
technology stocks and a string of deals in the health sector.
The energy sector dropped 1.4 percent as oil prices
slid on concerns that rising Iraqi exports and U.S. output could
dampen the impact of a deal among major producers to limit
Two-thirds of the 30 Dow components were lower, with Exxon
Mobil's 2.1 percent decline weighing the most, followed
by a 1.3 percent drop in Chevron.
The declines meant the Dow stayed shy of the psychologically
significant 20,000 mark. It came tantalizingly close on Friday,
hitting a record of 19,999.63, as the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq
also touched records after a late pop in tech stocks.
"Our view about the Dow (hitting) 20,000 is not a matter of
if, but a matter of when," said Matt Jones, U.S. head of equity
strategy at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in New York.
At 12:28 p.m. ET (1728 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial
Average was down 48.65 points, or 0.24 percent, at
19,915.15, the S&P 500 was down 3.53 points, or 0.15
percent, at 2,273.45.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 17.96 points, or 0.33
percent, at 5,539.01, easing slightly after hitting an all-time
high of 5,539.14.
Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower.
The tech sector was the top gainer. Apple
, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, rose
1.3 percent to a 13-month high of $119.43.
"As we move into the next couple of weeks, the focus will
move towards the micro and to specific company earnings and
expectation going forward," Jones said.
The first peek into how companies fared in the previous
quarter will be provided later this week by big banks. S&P 500
companies overall are expected to post a 5.8 percent increase in
profit in the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The financial sector was however off 0.34 percent on
Monday. Other big-name decliners were P&G and Coca-Cola
, which dropped about 1 percent each after Goldman
downgraded the stocks to "sell".
The healthcare sector gained 0.34 percent, boosted
by a string of multi-billion dollar deals.
Pet hospital operator VCA jumped 28 percent after
agreeing to a $7.7 billion buyout offer from candy and pet foods
maker Mars Inc. Ariad Pharma surged nearly 73 percent
on a $5.20 billion buyout deal with Japan's Takeda.
Surgical Care Affiliates jumped 16 percent on a
deal to be bought by UnitedHealth for about $2.30
billion. Dow component UnitedHealth dipped 0.6 percent.
One dim spot in the sector was Celgene, which lost
1.1 percent after issuing a full-year revenue forecast that
missed analysts' expectations.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,604
to 1,276. On the Nasdaq, 1,498 issues fell and 1,294 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed five new 52-week highs and no new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 47 new highs and 14 new lows.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by